There’s been no end to 2D platformers on Switch, but only a select few featured that heavier focus on puzzle mechanics. Whether it’s enjoyable first-party efforts like BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! to indie affairs such as Evergate, we’ve seen a great line-up so far, and Georifters is next to the plate. Developed by Busy Toaster, Georifters is more of a kid-friendly experience, featuring a strong focus on local multiplayer that allows up to 4 players. It holds some good ideas but sadly, the execution just isn’t that fun.
Our main campaign takes place within adventure mode, letting you play alone or in 2-player co-op. Starting in the land of Sweet Spot, a world where everyone is obsessed with sugary treats, our local hero Candy notices that strange rifts have appeared within their atmosphere. Aided by Chief in her investigation, she discovers those rifts are spatially unstable, bringing in waves of foul Buttflys. Resolving to find the cause, this story spreads across 6 different worlds, meeting new playable characters along the way and spans over 30 levels.
Levels are split into 10 different stages; each being filled with collectable crystals. To unlock the exit portal, you must pick up at least one but blocks obstruct your path. Sometimes they can be jumped over, but finding a way through is what makes up Georifters’ more puzzling elements, utilising a ground manipulation system. Providing your intended direction isn’t obstructed by a wall or other objects, you can push blocks out of the way to make new paths. Special rift levels also appear when travelling to new worlds, placing you on a strict timer to get through but adding seconds to the clock when new crystals are obtained.
Each character holds a special manipulation ability too, so Dr Schnoz can create paths by vertical separation, but Candy wields bubblegum cannons that can move whole block rows at once. You can only do three successive moves before your battery depletes, requiring a short recharge and this feels needlessly restrictive, slowing down gameplay – and in rift levels particularly, that becomes frustrating. Resets restore blocks to their original placements if you get stuck, but outside of blocks, numerous obstacles appear to interrupt your progress. This includes disappearing spaces, spikes that decrease your health and red blocks that will immediately kill you upon contact.
Lives are granted rather generously throughout – hidden amongst moveable blocks – but are also purchasable with points, earned upon level completion. Your performance is ranked on time taken, attacks, special ability use and how many crystals were collected, all translating to points. If you sustained damage, there’s a small deduction, but when compared to points earned from crystals, the impact is rather minimal. Rewards are also unlocked for finishing levels – and that includes badges, acting as an in-game achievement system for reaching certain milestones. Points can also buy cards too, which can be equipped with multiple stickers to enhance your abilities.
On paper, this all works as expected and with a more simplistic style of level design, kids are likely to find some enjoyment here without too much hassle. Georifters’ biggest problem, though, is that outside of multiplayer, it’s just not interesting and fails to ever engage you truly as a player. It comes across as rather generic and even with varying stages to play through, becomes rather tedious. It’s certainly a functional game and playing in co-op does alleviate some tedium but ultimately, it won’t keep you coming back.
Elsewhere, you’ve also got a Battle Arena, allowing two to four players to join in a race to collect more crystals, granting access to weapons such as long-distance claws, bombs, stun grenades, homing missiles and more. You can enter quick matches, but this can also be customised to change your number of rounds, lives and setting. With a group of four, there’s a more competitive element that becomes more enjoyable than adventure mode but it doesn’t offer much variety, so this is best experienced in smaller bursts to avoid repetition.
Visually, Georifters’ is a mixed bag and at times, the 3D character models look rough up close, particularly with their human characters. It brings a colourful aesthetic across each environment – one that’ll likely appeal to younger audiences – and all seven heroes have customisable appearances, too. Unlocked as you progress through Adventure Mode, this at least offers some visual variety and a motivation to continue, letting you change up their heads, legs and body.
Georifters has good ideas on paper but ultimately, it all feels rather tedious. If you’re searching for new kid-friendly multiplayer games, there are better experiences available and at a lower cost, making this hard to recommend by comparison. Should those options already be exhausted, Georifters does have some fun moments within its Adventure Mode co-op while the Battle Arena mode offers competitive fun. But ultimately, those seeking a new puzzle-platforming fix would be better off looking elsewhere.